Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Review: Before They Are Hanged

Before They Are Hanged

By:  Joe Abercrombie

Publisher:  Pyr

Publish Date:  2008

Genre:  Fantasy

Format:  Paperback, 539 pages - 6"x9"

Series:  2nd book in The First Law series, To read the review of Book 1 - The Blade Iteself, Click here.

Recommendation:  If you like lots of action and not to squimish of blood, and a magical journey... I would start with The Blade Itself and dive right into this read.

Book Synopsis:
Superior Glokta has a problem.  How do you defend a city surrounded by enemies and riddled with traitors when your allies can by no meands be trusted and your predecessor vanished without a trace?  It's enough to make a torturer want to run - if he could even walk without a stick.

Northmen have spilled over the border of Angland and are spreading fire and death across the frozen country.  Crown Prince Ladisla is poised to drive them back and win undying glory.  There is only one problem - he commands the worst-armed, worst-trained, worst-led army in the world.

And Bayaz, the First of the Magi, is leading a party of bold adventurers on a perilous mission through the ruins of the past.  The most hated woman in the South, the most feared man in the North, and the most selfish boy in the Union make a strange alliance, but a deadly one.  They might even stand a chance of saving mankind from the Eaters.  If they didn't hate each other quite so much.

Ancient secrets will be uncovered.  Bloody battles will be won and lost.  Bitter enemies will be forgiven - but not before they are hanged.

First Sentence:
Damn mist.  It gets in your eyes, so you can't see no more than a few strides ahead.

My Review and Summary:
Before They Are Hanged picks up right where The Blade Itself left off.  Bayaz - the First Mage, Quai his apprentice, the Navigator, Logen or Bloody Nine as he's known, Ferro, and Jezel are all on their journey to the edge of the world to get the seed to save everyone.  Glokta and his practicals are in the Southern city Dagoskan, to save a doomed city from the Gurkish.  Colonel West is up North fighting with, or for, the Prince against the savage Northmen.  It all sounds simple where the characters are and what they are doing.  But, the journey with these characters always seems to go by quickly for me with the wonderous things, good and bad, that happen.

I enjoyed The Blade Itself, but I think I enjoyed Before They Are Hanged even more.  Joe Abercrombie has a wonderful way of telling the story full of action and wonder.  I enjoyed reading of all the happenings with these characters in the different ends of the world, to see there is a great deal going on around the world and needing help in fixing. 

I don't know which set of characters I enjoy reading about more.  They are all have different happenings and characteristics that pull me into their stories.  Glokta is always a pleasure to read with his suspicious negative thoughts are always interesting in how he comes to his conclusions of people and happenings.  And he is usually right in his suspicions.  Bayaz and the crew have the magic with them and the great journey.  Magic and wonder always interest me.  Colonel West has the Northern Men coming to him and the crazy chaos.

The characters have all gone through great hardships of their own kind.  They are all grew greatly by the end of this book.  The Blade Itself defined who they where at the start, and now they are changing.  I got to learn more about the Eaters in the south and Shanka (or Flatheads) in the north.  Also, some history leading up to the reason Khaluh is doing what he is doing.

You start to see the inside workings of the history to why they are where they are and the world as it is.  I love how the history ties everyone together.  Even why Bayaz picked the crew, and yet wonder the purpose of a few of them.

There was one thing I would have liked to have, a map.  BUT I really liked how Joe Abercrombie drew a map of the world with his words and I didn't need a physical map to help visualize the world.

I have The Last Arguement of Kings on the shelf here, and will be looking forward to the time I can squeeze it into the schedule to see what all happens to everyone.


This book qualifies for my Speculated Fiction Challenge @ Book Chick City.


Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This sounds like an interesting series. Blood is okay, but sometimes it depends on the depth of description. :)

Don't you hate it when it looks like you may not have time to read that book that is calling to you?

Martha Eskuchen said...

Hi Melissa - This review and your Who Where What made me interested in this book. You read some very different books!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

I'm going to have to check this series out. I love the title "Before They Are Hanged." Great review!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Melissa - You have a new avatar! It's matches your blog. :) I like it. The blood isn't really all that bad, but there are a few battle scenes with bloody results. I really am enjoying this series though. :) Yeah, I am going to have to make time for the third one here soon. I have been saying soon about a lot of books. Well, all the books I have on my shelf to read I want to read soon. LOL. I just have to figure out which one is calling the most.

MarthaE - Hi! *waves* Thank you for stopping by. I am glad you liked the review ;) And to hear you read the Who WHere WHAT meme. The meme still needs some work, but I will give it a few tries here. I seem to hear that a lot about the books, many of them others had not heard of. So I am alway glad to introduce some new and different books. Thank you!

Michelle - The title is really neat. :) I hope you enjoy this trilogy. Thank you!

David Wagner said...

Terrific series... I agree that Book two is better than the first... and that Book 3 is better than 2... get ready for a wild ride...

Simcha said...

While I enjoyed Abercrombie's different style of writing an epic fantasy and the way he presents his characters, I didn't find the story itself interesting enough to make me want to read the sequel. But if you say that Before they are hanged is better than the first book, perhaps I'll give it a try after all. Thanks for the review! How's The Warded Man going?

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

David - Well, I am going to have to make room for reading book 3 to see where everyone ends up. I can only image where Abercrombie will go with them all.

Simcha - I felt I got more explaination in the second book here. As there is still a lot happening that I don't really know the answers too, but I got a much better insight to many things and the history. This all helped place things a little better for me. Thank you! As for Warded Man... well, reading just hasn't gone very well this week at all. I have been fighting a head cold, which now is a sinus infection and I now have pink eye - which my son had last week. We also did a lot of running. So, I am hoping this week will be LOADS better for reading. I hope to get somewhere with it. So I guess I really haven't got very far with it yet, but have hopes for the week coming.

Cherry said...

I just gave away my copy of The Balde Itself, now, after reading your review, I so need to get me another copy!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Cherry - :) Glad you liked the review so. I hope if you get a copy bo The Blade Itself you go ahead and get to Before They Are Hanged as well. :) Enjoy.

Bryce L. said...

I also thought this was better than the first. I cared for the characters more and everything just seemed to work better if that makes any sense. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Seak - The characters did seem to fit better in this book. That does make sense. I think they started to fit into place with the happenings here. I am looking forward to reading the last book, curious to see where it all goes.